Art of freezing food | Daily News

Art of freezing food

Freezing food is also a great way to reduce food waste. Here are some good and perhaps surprising items you can freeze.

Shredded Cheese: If you buy bulk bags of cheese, divide them into smaller, freezer-safe bags. Hard cheese can be frozen in chunks, but shredded freezes best. You can even use the cheese directly from the freezer, as it defrosts very quickly.

Homemade Pancakes or Waffles: Don’t throw out those breakfast leftovers! Freeze them first on a baking sheet in a single layer, then wrap them in plastic wrap with a layer of wax or parchment paper in between each; slip them into freezer-proof, zipper-top bags; and freeze. You can defrost and heat these in the microwave.

Fresh Herbs: Roughly chop any fresh herb and put about 1 tablespoon of it in each container of an ice cube tray. Then fill up the sections with a little broth, water or olive oil, and freeze. Once the herby ice cubes are frozen, transfer them to a bag, seal well, label and pop them back into the freezer. Defrost before using, unless you are throwing one into a soup or stew. They will not be able to be used as a garnish, as their texture will be affected, but they can be used in dressings, marinades and such.

Tomato Paste: When a recipe calls for 1 tablespoon of tomato paste, don’t cover the rest of the can with foil and shove it into the back of the fridge. Scrape it into a freezer-proof bag, press out the air and freeze. Snap off pieces as you need it; just guesstimate what a tablespoon would be, and usually you can just add it frozen to a recipe.

Whole Fruit: Bananas freeze up beautifully right in their own skins — no plastic required! Defrost, peel and use them in baked goods like banana bread. Thawed or frozen, they are great in smoothies. You can also freeze whole tomatoes or peaches with their skins still on; wash, dry, and core or pit them, then freeze. When you thaw them, even partially, you can slip their skins right off. The tomatoes can then be chopped and used in sauces and other cooked dishes, the peaches in baked goods and smoothies.

Bread: You can double-wrap bread in foil and then slide it into a freezer-proof bag. This is a great way to save half a baguette or another nice bakery loaf. Thaw it on the counter for several hours, or in the oven — how long depends on the size of the loaf. Packaged sliced bread can stay in its bag. Pull out slices as you need them; they will defrost quickly. AP


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